This post is written to link with an online discussion at katemotaung.com on the book “On Being A Writer” by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. Today I’m posting on Chapter 4: Notice- I attend to and record what’s going on around me.
Noticing my surroundings is not something I always do well. Often I am too lost in my thoughts to notice what is around me. Other times I am just too busy- rushing from one place to the other without taking time to stop and take note.
When I do slow down and look around me though, I realise there are some amazing sights to be seen- driving along a country road yesterday with the sun shining, a bright blue sky, beautiful fields all around, both green fields and golden corn fields, I felt alive and free and marvelled at the beauty of God’s creation.
But when I stop and look, mainly I notice people- interesting people, weird people, wonderful people- like a man walking his parrot on a lead in a park, or even a giraffe playing the bongos!
One of the most beautiful sights I saw when I slowed down enough to notice though was an elderly lady. It was dull, it was damp, it had been raining most of the day. In the city centre people were rushing in and out of shops trying to keep dry- everyone was cold and miserable and no-one was stopping to chat. People were just hurrying about their business, trying to what they needed to do so they could get out of the rain.
Then a brass band began to play and the music drew me to go and listen. Some others did the same. There was nowhere to stand under cover while you were listening but somehow it didn’t seem to matter. The music had drawn people out from their shelter and brightened the gloom.
Then as the band began to play “Singing in the Rain” my attention was drawn to an elderly lady. She was wearing a bright pink raincoat and I could see she was struggling to stand still. First she began swaying from side to side, then her feet started to tap, and finally she just gave in to it and began to dance. There were other people standing close by, holding a massive rainbow umbrella. It didn’t seem that the lady knew them, but she took the umbrella from them and began twirling it and spinning it as she danced around, completely lost in the music.
It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. It wasn’t that her dancing was great- it wasn’t even in time with the music- but I think it was her joy- her delight in the music and the way she was completely unashamed about expressing that, even if she looked a little foolish. She didn’t care what anyone else thought- she just wanted to dance- and in doing so she pulled other people into her joy. Just the sight of the bright pink figure dancing and the rainbow umbrella twirling brought a smile to so many people’s faces.
At a moment when everyone was harassed and wet and miserable, the music and the dancing made people stop and smile and enjoy something together.
I need to slow down more and notice things like this- life can seem dark and gloomy at times, but if we look for them there are always little glimpses of joy and beauty to be found.